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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013 Feb 8;431(2):124-30. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.01.014. Epub 2013 Jan 11.

Apocynin suppresses the progression of atherosclerosis in apoE-deficient mice by inactivation of macrophages.

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Department of Metabolic Medicine, Faculty of Life Sciences, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto 860-8556, Japan.


Production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and other proinflammatory substances by macrophages plays an important role in atherogenesis. Apocynin (4-hydroxy-3-methoxy-acetophenone), which is well known as a NADPH oxidase inhibitor, has anti-inflammatory effects including suppression of the generation of ROS. However, the suppressive effects of apocynin on the progression of atherosclerosis are not clearly understood. Thus, we investigated anti-atherosclerotic effects of apocynin using apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE(-/-)) mice in vivo and in mouse peritoneal macrophages in vitro. In atherosclerosis-prone apoE(-/-) mice, apocynin suppressed the progression of atherosclerosis, decreased 4-hydroxynonenal-positive area in atherosclerotic lesions, and mRNA expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in aorta. In mouse peritoneal macrophages, apocynin suppressed the Ox-LDL-induced ROS generation, mRNA expression of MCP-1, IL-6 and granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor, and cell proliferation. Moreover, immunohistochemical studies revealed that apocynin decreased the number of proliferating cell nuclear antigen-positive macrophages in atherosclerotic lesions of apoE(-/-) mice. These results suggested that apocynin suppressed the formation of atherosclerotic lesions, at least in part, by inactivation of macrophages. Therefore, apocynin may be a potential therapeutic material to prevent the progression of atherosclerosis.

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